Gyms that pack a punch
This fortnight sees the Legend Fighting Championship 5 and Thai Fight Extreme 2011 in one destruction-filled weekend. So why not warm up for the gladiatorial bloodbaths at the best MMA and Muay Thai gyms in the city, selected by Chinmoy Lad
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a combination of styles and disciplines from various cultures. Many MMA fighters learn two, three or more disciplines of martial arts and mix them together, resulting in the ultimate fighting sport. One rule MMA practitioners learn very quickly is the importance of a ground game. Very few MMA artists go into the ring without having a ground base in wrestling or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
JAB combines the personal appeal of a niche studio with the size and facilities of mass-market gyms. There are free weights, group classes and personal training sessions on offer. Their private facilities mean you can fall on your ass without a gym full of patrons watching, which is especially important for you MMA-newbies.
Martial arts: MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, kickboxing.
Cost: Gym membership – from $1,000/month. Personal training – from $300/session.
5/F, Kimley Commercial Bldg, 142-146 Queen’s Rd Central, Central, 2851 6684; www.jabmma.com.
Triquest MMA + Fitness Academy
This smaller gym specialises in ensuring personalised workouts, even for the meek. In addition to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA and Muay Thai, Triquest is one of the only gyms in Hong Kong to offer training in Krav Maga, the official self-defence and fighting system used by the Israel Defense Forces.
Martial arts: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, Muay Thai, Kali, Krav Maga.
Cost: Gym membership – $500/year (additional fee per class). Personal training – from $300/session.
4/F, Wing Lock House, 1 Lock Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 8201 2822; www.triquest-mma.com.
This is Hong Kong’s largest dedicated MMA gym. With space, equipment and facilities to match, Impakt offers the whole shebang – free weight equipment for strength and core training, group classes and personal training sessions
with famed martial artists such as Alain Ngalani.
Martial arts: MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kyokushin Karate, Muay Thai and more.
Cost: Gym membership – from $1,000/month, $2,600 for all-inclusive. Personal training – from $300/session.
2/F, Wing’s Bldg, 110-116 Queen’s Rd Central, Central, 2167 7218; www.impakt.hk.
Muay Thai is an ancient kickboxing martial art that finds its origins in Thailand. Unlike most other contact martial arts that only use two or four points of striking (punches or kicks), Muay Thai encourages the use of knees and elbows in addition to the traditional styles for the full combative experience.
With many ties to the Netherlands, Force One is led in Hong Kong by Miss Jaguar, one of the only female Muay Thai trainers in the city. She combines traditional Thai techniques with Dutch disciplines in both fitness and fighter training classes.
Martial arts: Muay Thai.
Cost: Unlimited lessons – $1,550/month. Personal training – from $850/session.
3/F, Hang Wai Commercial Bldg, 231-233 Queen’s Rd East, Wan Chai, 2574 2888; www.forceone.com.hk.
A proper hardcore gym for the Muay Thai lovers, The Ring is a medium-sized facility that holds inter-club competitions annually. Head trainer Tsoi Tung Hiu (Sifu Tsoi) has coached the Hong Kong team in the World Muay Thai competition and retired with an impressive 37 wins to five losses in the ring.
Martial arts: Muay Thai.
Cost: Gym membership – from $1,200/month (unlimited classes). Personal training – from $500/session.
Unit E, 2/F, Ho Lee Commercial Bldg, 38-44 D’Aguilar St, Central, 2526 8987; 1/F, Lai Chi Bldg, 42 Leighton Rd, Causeway Bay, 2882 7399; www.thering.com.hk.
Fight night essentials
Legend Fighting Championship 5 City of Dreams, Macau
July 16, 7pm, $1,280-$680, www.macau.com.
Asia-Pacific’s fittest athletes will be using a variety of martial arts disciplines to outdo each other in the ring. The headline match-up sees Rod MacSwain defending his title against Bae Myung Ho.
Thai Fight Extreme 2011 AsiaWorld Arena.
July 17, 3pm-6pm, $1,200-$250, www.hkticketing.com.
Thai fighters and foreign Muay Thai pros will trade punches and kicks in a bid to knock each other out. Watch out for legendary Muay Thai champion Buakaw, known for his fierce and swift roundhouse kicks.